Sussex County is planting the seeds of economic prosperity, awarding nearly $140,000 in grants to two companies - one moving to Delaware, the other already here and expanding - that will add more than 170 jobs to the local economy.
The County Council, at its April 30 meeting, approved one-time economic development grants to ILC/Grayling Industries and Atlantis Industries Corp. The grants are the county's contribution to incentive packages of local and state funds aimed at spurring job growth that are being used to help the businesses take root in Sussex County.
"These grants are an investment in jobs and an investment in Sussex County's future," said County Administrator Todd F. Lawson. "We believe the county's contribution, albeit small, will pay big dividends for these job creators and the scores of Sussex County citizens who will work in these operations and spend their paychecks in our community."
The council approved a $92,000 grant from the county's Economic Development Fund for ILC/Grayling Industries, which plans to move 115 jobs to the Seaford area from Mexico later this year as part of its plastic containment systems manufacturing operation. Meantime, the council approved a $44,800 grant to Atlantis Industries of Milton, which will keep its current 36 jobs here and add 20 more for its custom injection molding and tool-making business.
ILC/Grayling Industries announced early this year plans to relocate to Sussex, which won over three other locations. Atlantis Industries, meanwhile, had been exploring relocation elsewhere.
Both grants are based on a formula of $800 per job created or retained through expansion, a rate previously approved by the county in another incentive program created in 2011. Funding for the grants comes through the County's Economic Development Fund, which was established in 2004 as a way to boost local projects and stimulate job creation.
Each company submitted a grant application to the county in March, and after a review of their business plans and other requirements, were recommended to the council for approval by the county's Economic Development Committee. That five-member advisory panel includes the county administrator, finance director, economic development director, county attorney and a member of the business community.
The grants will be subject to a 'clawback' provision ensuring each applicant creates the number of full-time jobs proposed. If not, funding would be returned to the county. Additionally, each applicant will be subject to a six-month audit by the county to track the progress of the grants and job creation, said County Finance Director Susan M. Webb.
Council President Michael H. Vincent said the grants will have a far-reaching effect, as each business will do business with other local companies, creating what is known as a 'multiplier effect.'
"This County Council has made economic development our No. 1 priority, and these grants today represent the county's follow-through on that commitment," Vincent said. "Whether it's our current airport runway extension project, this winter's dredging of the Nanticoke River, or offering incentives like this today, Sussex County has shown repeatedly that it's all about business. We're ready to do what it takes so businesses can get to work."